Glossary of Terms

Glossary:                                           This should be a ‘page’ when I remember how to do it!!

This list could go on for some time!     Many websites as well as texts and literary notes contain glossaries of terms current and historic.    These are my understanding of the terms, others may vary a little.  I compile this as a reminder and update as and when:

Poetic Genre:…………..

Classical      For me this sits in the Miltonic period and earlier when subjects were, as they say, classics based.  Has to include likes of Greek and Latin works too.

Concrete (shaped/visual)      Apollinaire among first to use words (poetry) within or as part of illustration but now, often,  overall poem shape using words/line lengths is in the shape of the poem subject.

Contemporary        A moving away from Modernism with such as free verse and stream of consciousness  in style and subject of  ‘today’………. moving into the ever changing styles of such as Street, Rap, grime, hip-hop. etc etc   which fit into ‘performance’ and song for today’s poets.  Suggestion and ambiguity  of ideas often used.

Georgian       Style moving away from Victorian motifs, becoming more natural and sometime urban. (King George….)

Imagist     A  style often promoted by (invented by) Pound and Eliot as one by new poets of the day.

Metaphysical      Much about the sub-text and it’s spiritual or mystical meanings

Modernism      From turn into 20th century .  Originally styled to make a conscious break from traditional romantic styles and to have less emotion, more logic. (T S Eliot)

Pastoral (on Nature)       Rural, countryside.  Wordsworth fits here and Clare

Performance.    Considered a late 20th  and 21st C style but poets always ‘performed’ their work within there own peer group but maybe not to wider audience.   Theatre and MusicHall produced much performance poetry, now likely called monologue.  Eg Stanley Holloway, Joyce Grenville, Pam Eyres……..Kate Tempest

Romantic     (on Nature and the Golden Age) such as Wordsworth, Coleridge  et al

War Poets*     (usually relating to WW1 poetry developing more ‘realistic’ images but as time passes includes WW2 and other conflicts plus poems of events by combatants and survivors). Many significant poets and poems from WW1 especially.

……… Form of poems:………

Poem                Composition in verse where rhythm and rhyme intend to produce an emotional response.  Speech rhythm often mainstay in most memorable poems.

Acrostic           Where the first (most commonly) or last letters of a line spell, going down,  a name, word or phrase.

Ballad             Simple poem (or song) usually in four line stanzas.    Eg folk song

Blank verse   Lines in iambic pentameter (as a norm) or regular metrical rhythms without end of line rhymes

Elegy      Formal, often mourning/mournful poem on classical subject, using couplets of hexameter and pentameter lines or two stanzas of four iambic pentameter, rhyming abab.

Epic                 Long narrative poem that tells of heroic events in an ‘heroic’ style.

Free Verse       Poetry that does not use the conventions of metre, rhyme, line length etc

Haiku               Japanese poem of three lines containing five, seven and five syllables.  On nature, usually ‘profound’ last line.  (many variations  exist).  A poem to be spoken in a single breath is, I believe, the Japanese idea of its form.

Limerick          Humorous poem in a five-line form.  Using the particular rhythm and rhyme scheme.

Lyric              A song or poem of thoughts and emotions of the ‘speaker’

Ode        A poem intended to be sung, often long and addressed to something or someone.

Prose poem    A poem with few or no line-breaks.  May rely on rhythm only but also contain less obvious mid-line rhyme.    See polyphonic prose.

Rondel            French origin with format of 13 lines and specific rhyme scheme.  1st line repeated as last line.

Rondeau            Fr. origin  with format of 15 lines and specific rhyme scheme with first line phrase repeated in mid and last lines.

Saga               Scandinavian epic form    ( Anglo Saxon Beowolf also fits this)

Song       Often for particular (folk/popular) tune of the day (historically)…..  and today

Sonnet            A poem of 14 lines, each containing  a fomat of rhyme.  Various: Shakespearean (most practised) or Petrachian or Spenserian  but numerous other sub-names/formats around the world.

Villanelle         A poem of 19 lines comprising 5 tercets and a quatrain.  It has two rhythms within the poem



Allegory                  ‘Story’ with two meanings.  The obvious one which also symbolises a deeper second meaning.

Allusion                   A passing ref. to another literary work or historical fact

Anthropomorphism   Human qualities given to non-human objects…..see personification

Assonance              Repetition of a vowel sound of words within a line

Alliteration            Repetition of the first consonant of words in a line

Cadence                  The sound or emphasise of words and lines.

Caesura                   A pause in a line of verse, usually the middle.

Couplet                   A stanza of 2 lines

Enjambement       Where the sense continues over a line-break, couplet or stanza

Envoi                         The concluding stanza of poems in a specific metrical form

Heroic couplets      Lines of iambic pentameter rhymed in pairs

Hyperbole                Extreme exaggeration to make a point

iamb                          Unit of metrical rhythm per word/line:  see below.

iambic pentameter    Ten syllables in a line, one stressed followed by one unstressed etc.

Irony                         Incongruity in what is expected and what actually happens

Juxtaposition           Contrasting ideas placed together

Metre                        The pattern of syllables in a line.  May vary through poem, see above.

Metaphors              Word or phrase given to an object ( i.e.    something is…….) which is literally not applicable

Muse                         Writer’s inspiration….not a subject of poem but maybe included  in passing

Neologism, a            A new word created for poem

Octave                       Stanza of 8 lines

Onomatopoeia         Word sounding like its meaning, e.g.:  hiss

Polyphonic prose       A term invented by Amy Lowell.   See above: prose poem

Personification       Putting human characteristics into inanimate objects or animals

Pun                             A word used in a way which may give it two possible meanings

Quatrain                   Stanza of 4 lines

Refrain                    A chorus verse that is repeated between ‘main’ verses of a poem/song

Rhyme                     Words that sound similar but always in meaning, frequently at the end of lines. Eg clock/frock

Rhyme-scheme      Pattern of rhyme at the end of lines in a verse/stanza and through the poem. System of letters ababc. etc is the usual method of notation.

Rhythm                   The regular sound-pattern…. syllables enforce different rhythms.

Sestet                      Stanza of 6 lines

Simile                     Comparing things….using ‘like’ and ‘as’

Stanza                     A unit, usually a verse in a poem

Stress                      Putting emphasis on a word or part word (syllable)     Eg on ‘put’ in word putting.

Syllable                    A ‘sound-unit’ within a word.  eg:   Beg (one).  Begun. (Two)

Symbolism             Using a word to represent an abstract idea

Syntax                     The arrangement of words within a sentence/ line

Tercet                       Stanza of three lines

Trope                       Figure of speech where a word or expression is used in other than its literal sense

Verse                        A stanza: unit in a poem



* This, from the midst of WW1 was a vital moment, providing poems that did not romanticise War, developing as the realities of the mechanised war struck, literally, all theatres of servicemen.  Most earlier poems to WW1 were written in a different times by different classes of people.  Prior to this ‘war’ was highly romanticised for many political and social reasons. (There were exceptions, of course!).  Other than ‘jingoism’, poems were usually written by those of ‘higher’ education and social standing.  Today anthologies usually contain poems written that highlight the tragedy of war.  However, the sad results of war were/are especially  ‘popular’ in (traditional/folk) songs down the centuries; this is likely because it had major impact on individuals and families of the working/labouring/peasant classes.   Some poets found their voices changed by family loss or understanding via the relative immediacy of the news and stories of those on leave or discharged.  Plus the sheer volume of deaths and injuries.  This is especially noticeable in the change of tone of many Poets during the First World War who lived feet away from death, destruction and mutilation.  A tone that has continued ever since.  Realism and all its variations hit deeper into the ‘literary’ classes, to put it over-simply, they had further to fall than those struggling at the lower levels of the class structure of the day.




Emily Lee: Don’t Forget to Love……………A Graph Review (music)

A Graph Review

of the ep: this happy spirit graph 70 to 80 ……..Don’t Forget To Love.  By Emily Lee

Merits more points than average of 75, should be avge 80,  only wish it was more easily obtainable as cd.

Also, recently released (1st Sept)  by Emily Lee another   cd:     Dance my Demons Away

Have to confess to one favourite vocal being ‘In the Balance’…..from Karmina Burana.  Sometimes a few assorted arias/ duets of Puccini, Verdi et al of mezzos and sopranos as mood or playlist takes me.

Nothing better than to binge on Marianne Faithfull with ‘Before the Poison’ et al.  with many assorted others thrown in from even further back from jazz, blues of Billie Holiday and what some would call ‘folk’ from another huge assortment of singers from Sandy Denny to Eva Cassidy.   Okay, huge gaps, known and unknown not ignored just not included……

I  have labelled a very few above as regulars but try to listen randomly, or deliberately to contemporary singers.  Yes, I have found lots to like in different ways and could drift on listing many well-established singers (Dixie Chicks, Storm Large) and assorted new (to me) like Jorja Smith who are going to be a permanent fixture on my favourite playlist.  Huge array of talent, all of them.

However, when I want to sit and listen to voice, words and music I currently fall back onto Jane Silberry’s  ‘Maria’ cd.  Within that the final, long, track is ‘Oh My My’ which just has to be listened to the final note.

There is any amount of superb singers, writers, musicians out there, old, contemporary or in the wings that deserve to be heard. I wish I had the time and memory to look more.

What’s this got to do with an Emily Lee review of ‘Dont Forget To Love’, an ep  cd released in 2015?    It’s because I have only just heard her sing and it was live on acoustic guitar (a Joan Baez song), and later listened to this ep.     emily lee cover 1Five of her own beautifully crafted and produced songs with style and variation that held together whilst showing her ability and vocal confidence. Emily and a guitar. ……. Not forgetting the intro. on first track, for me a pleasant surprise……

Tracks:    Mr Moonlight;   Special;   Don’t Forget To Love;   Ain’t Man Enough;   Blue.

As a contrary customer I might have put  ‘Ain’t Man Enough’ last.   But then I deserve a slap on the wrist for saying that because it wasn’t anything to do with me!!!!     It’s tough but if I had to choose one of the above it should be ‘Special’, because it is!   An ep of music and words to last a lifetime.

dont forget to love insideI have listened to the ep from first to last about six times in four days. More times than I have listened to numerous other cds over two or three months.   I don’t know who wrote the ‘about’ notes on her website; looks a bit tooo much (for me) but then it sounds like that personality over the various  tracks.  I do hope she is one of the many, many-talented singers, writers, musicians to make it in their careers.       With Emily, tread carefully, you won’t know what hits you when you listen.  You will be hooked!    Available to download from iTunes……..    do it now!!!

Sept 1st, was a  release date for her second ep, ‘Dance My Demon Away’ at a launch at the Lexington, London N1..    I was unable to go so missed out on the event of Emily Lee and a 10 piece band……. even worse…… the problem that I can’t get the cd yet.   But will!

Meantime look her up on youtube for a taster: Emily Lee:  Sleep With A Stranger.          Good song, good video!

‘Don’t Forget To Love’    A thoughtful, provoking, sensitive yet at times steely performance from an artist who will push on to even greater music.   This album will sit as my top-tip for some time……….unless the new one is as good, then it will be a fight!

Forward Prize Winners, 2018 Announced

The prizes announced at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 September 2018         to:

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000) 
Danez Smith – Don’t Call Us Dead (Chatto & Windus)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000) 
Phoebe Power – Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem Shortlist (£1,000)
Liz Berry – The Republic of Motherhood (Granta)

Please follow links above and below for all the fullest details reported.

This announcement is from the Forward Prize website.  To my shame I have not checked out the longlist, the shortlist authors or poems/collections for this year.     I would have liked to pre-guess the judges at least by reading something from their shortlist.   Oh-well,  Time & Tide etc. etc.     However, from the Guardian Online announcement  it seems I need to read all three winners!!  That’ll teach me.

Biggest congratulations to Danez Smith for being the youngest ever winner.

The Plough Prize: Poetry competition closes Oct.18, 2018

See link below on requirements to enter competitions.   

Entries need to be in by 18th Oct. 2018.    Entry Forms will need to be downloaded 

Two competitions:

Open Poetry competition for poems up to 40 lines


Ronald Duncan Short Poem competition for poems of maximum length10 lines

It doesn’t seem to specify if maximum line count includes Poem’s title so either ask if it is relevant or assume title is included in the count.

Thought I would highlight this particular competition as it is a beautiful part of the country.  Also because it is a successful yearly event with some amazing poetry from all ranks of poets over the years……..and a bit of a secret!

Just about four weeks to get those lines in order and safely sent in.





Selected Poems, Geoffrey Grigson

Selected poems: Geoffrey Grigson               A Graph Review.  A good 70 to 80 points Edited by John Greening


art by Geoffrey Grigson

Published by Greenwich Exchange. 2017

978 1910996133        paperback.  £12.99

175 pp plus approx 10pp for notes and a single index of titles and first lines (115 poems)

The Contents page lists the order of the poems, after the introduction but  in an ideal way, for me.  It gives the collection title from which the poems come followed by the selected poems and page numbers.  The collections are in date order of publication.    Additional to this, in the text itself are (break-point) pages stating ‘Poems of the 30s; 40s’, 50s and 60s, etc.    Which means you can catch a glimpse of the decades in which the poems were written.  If like me you need a visual reminder you can annotate the poems as such.

Though this is creeping towards the fact that I would prefer all poems to have their date of origination included on the page….. yes, I know the system would go into overload if the poem was fiddled with or re-written over time/years. However this ties into more knots if you consider any interventions by editors, peers, who suggest changes…..  Basic origination date is at least a start.     The point is that I congratulate John Greening on this style of presentation.  If it points out my lack of knowledge on contemporary publishing……sorry!

I have read Grigson as a reviewer, author, on John Clare in particular and editor of anthologies..  I admit to being aware of his poetry although have never read a collection!   That’s a sad admission to make but having made that grave mistake I feel obliged to make amends by waving this book around at poetry events.  Thanks to John Greening for sparking my enthusiasm.

The brief biographical details present him as a Cornishman, a cleric for a father;  six brothers, all of whom died  before he himself was middle-aged.  Three marriages and a love of France, and Europe but thoroughly English: Cornish.  He wrote poetry throughout his long writing career of mixing and working in the literary and artistic world.

His early poetry, designated ’30s & 40s’, seems aligned to the lyrical and rhyme. Exceptions allowed.  He writes of people, himself included, though a greater content focuses on elements of landscape, flora and fauna.  From the start of the ‘70s & 80s’ period the subjects still cover the range though the rhyming becomes more spare.   A change in his attitude or a nod to the times?  Whatever, he never loses his themes or characteristic style.  Later poems show his rhyming becoming audible again but less regulated.   Am I daring to say this?  It’s varying his rhyme-schemes over time, that’s all.

I can say his language is almost always spare and skillful. The words are crystal clear, a pulsating vocabulary and nothing wasted, each one selected carefully.  Any excisions will have already made by Grigson himself,  if indeed he had to make any!  Aspects of ‘love’ abound along with angled observations of people, birds, beasts and the physicality of landscape, rock and even the air.

We find numerous poems as translations or references  to other poets and the Classics.   I do find it quite satisfying to believe these poems were pursued by Grigson  as an antidote to his work as critic, author and anthologist.  Pleasing too, to see a poem each for John Clare and Ivor Gurney included.

One of my favourite poems here…..but must be read after these two poems, The Critics and Colours:  is    …….    Another Poem in Briefest Prose.   Interesting variations in another set: Rock, Sea, Water, Fire, Air.   Others, out of book-order: The Gas Fire, The Paper in the Rain. Figgins:       Variations in temperament and of course religion slip in, or is it out, in various decades.

I could also offer: Swallows, and  Death of a Farmyard.  (Mortality is a strong theme but then often is.  Grigson has strong reasons)

Birth of Criticism, followed by   Annotation,  and  Concert in the High Church, three in a row that Greening has chosen for us.

Many of his poems seem to be picking away at the surface, pointing out at that which we must find for ourselves.  Seem to be pointing to where we should look, answers not offered but obliging readers to look a little deeper into the words, and ourselves.

I think of him as seeming full-blooded, not taking fools gladly, and as they leave, behind his sleeve, chuckling at his feigned dishumour.    Despite the fact he died over 30 years ago his poetry is still vigorous, descriptive and informative, a sign for me of a poet who will remain a force to be reckoned with.

Boringly I should add that I deliberately did not read the ‘Notes’ until after writing this review. A silly principle, perhaps….however, I have to add that they offer insights worth reading to the placing (action) of those poems.

Finally, the last two poems in this selection:  The Dipper, short but memorable, seen with a still clear poet-s eye.

The Dipper

Staring down from that broken, one-arched bridge,

In that vale of water-mint, saint, lead-mine an Madge,

I was amazed by that fat black-and-white water bird

Hunting under threat, not at all disturbed.


How could I tell that what I saw then and there

Would live for me still in my eightieth year?

(From Selected Poems, Geoffrey Grigson, edited by John Greening, published by Greenwich Exchange)

the selection ends on his last poem:  The Last Poem, mixing youth and old age as a continuum.

Geoffrey Grigson, a striking example of a powerful (Cornish) poet whose work spanned half a century or more.  This book is a blessing to poetry and his memory.


Adlestrop and a review of ‘Adelstrophes’ by R.K.R Thornton

Adlestrophes,  by RKR Thornton                            published by  RECTORY PRESS

My copy is 6th ed, (augmented) dated 2017.     58pp price £5         isbn 978 0 9572415 0 3

A Graph Review:     70plus, up to 80 points

I assume this is available through bookshops, my copy was given by the author.      It seems you can buy copies directly from Rectory Press, as noted in the title pages, from:

and if you happen to do so, then please mention ‘poetryparc’  (no commission, just nice to know)

I decided I should include the original by Edward Thomas as a reminder  and as a visual comparison to the various styles so ably assembled in ‘Adlestrophes’.  It is included in this collection.


Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
from  ‘Poems’ (1917)   Edward Thomas
Okay, so you have re-visited Adlestrop.           Now, via this lovely little collection by RKR Thornton plus single poems by five others, you can sit in the train at that very same spot and sample the style of many a famous poet.
Kelsey gives an introduction where he explains the reasons for this collection and points out that some of the variations contain details not found in the original.  The front and back covers have the assorted poets sitting in a carriage, with brief comment from Kelsey. There are also three b&w illustrations in the text. I assume all drawn by Kelsey Thornton.
Yes, hints of other streams of thought (ie well-known poems) filter through these  variants and add to the fun of reading each poem.  Whatever your preference……well, almost….. you will be able to pick out the subtle and not so subtle elements of period poetry.      Actually, you cant miss them most of the time!
For an example from the book:
Matsuo Basho  (1644-1694)
from the Japanese
Engine’s unplanned halt;
In hush of midsummer noon
Ripples of birdsong
Should I list the poets?  I will give a selection of those included.  If your favourite isn’t there  it wont matter a jot!
a prose writer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Pope, Wordsworth, Southey, Keats, Tennyson, McGonagall, Dickinson, Swinburne, Hardy, cummings, Dowson, Frost, Masefield, Milne, Brooke, Issa, Cope, Lorca: and, as they say, even more.
This book is entertaining and also informative in its way of showing the differences in style and periods and indeed the quality of RKR’s work (and others).   It also highlights the quality of the original and affirms its place in the nation’s memory and affection.  A lovely little collection, great for a journey!

John Clare born 13 July 1793: 225 years ago today, 2018


clare painting  It is quite amazing that a poet who was recognised by many of his peers of the day, only briefly by his public at large, sank almost out of sight for a hundred years before climbing in stature to a pre-eminent position amongst poets some of whom surpassed him in his lifetime; and is now studied at A level plus degree level and researched widely.

The likes of Burns (with whom Clare felt a close affinity), Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and many others of his day may have retained their fame but none have grown in stature over the centuries as has Clare.

Born to an agricultural labourer family in Helpston.  Educated at the local village school, he was a promising child who might have gone further as an apprentice but Clare found the rigour of such indoor work confining and seems to have needed the freedom of an outdoor life.   He became a ploughboy.  He found the poetry of Thompson and the work of Robert Bloomfield and his eye and brain turned to poetry.  Not only that but also taking on his father’s interest in playing the fiddle and folk songs.

As well as roaming the countryside for  between or during working hours, he became a collector of folk songs, learnt to play the fiddle, gained knowledge of gypsy music from visiting their camps.  Taught himself to read and write music by reading music scores of tunes he knew so he could  record the tunes he gathered.   And wrote many poems as ‘songs’ for those tunes.    I haven’t read that he wrote any new music, just collected what he heard.   Travellers he met, drovers too, would have brought music from such as Scotland and other regions, in the way that music travels even today.  Many happy hours seem to have been spent working as a pot-man at the Blue Bell Inn or just whiling away the hours with drinking, fiddling and song.  These seem to have been sunny times for him, maybe helping lift his spirits.

john clare statue
statue of Clare in too-large overcoat for his 4foot6 height. Given to him originally to hide his even poorer clothing.

One reason why he has become so well known may be that there is still so much to be discussed and discovered about the man.       He was not highly educated, at a village school, though recommended as a very able student by the master.  He was and continued to be, an avid reader and self-educating along the way in the wide range of books he could borrow or buy.  At one point he had a whole library to select from where he worked as a gardener for a while.   You may say he was unfortunate in his life for all the hardships he had to endure.  The stress of poverty and physical hardship caused an eventual breakdown in his health and mind.

But we must remember that with a mind as sharp as his, we can see decisions that he made for himself.  They may have been wrong at times, pride, unwillingness to change, and an element of diffidence or inferiority that held him back.  I suspect a serious aspect for him was his (in)ability to support his family within the constraints of the work available to his small stature whilst maintaining his growing believe in himself as a poet.  He had some small success on being published but not in volume or as income.  A degree of fame without income was draining mentally, physically and also financially.

His family was supported to move to Northborough a very few miles from his village of Helpston but this was a difficult move for him personally and may have added to his slipping mental health.  However this move did produce a whole raft of writing recently published as the ‘ Northborough Sonnets’

His years in asylums where his mental health was in difficulty actually produced some of his best poetry.  Poetic form was in his blood and it is thankful that he was allowed pen and paper and that these were collected and kept safe.  This was both in High Beech and again in Northampton Asylum after a brief spell of refusing writing materials.  In these years his physical health was much improved, his stress levels most likely lessened by being away from his family.  Though still to some degree because of his separation from family and especially his beloved Helpston environs; and need to be confined within a different, smaller area of grounds.  (Epping Forest would have been an area he could have wandered but had not the fields and fens he loved.). At Northampton, when more settled, he would be allowed to visit the town and often sat in the precinct of All Saint’s Church.

Becoming frail they used a wheelchair for him, enabling him to sit in the asylum grounds. He had a stroke and died shortly after on 20th May 1864.  He was buried at Helpston on 25th May.

clare midsummer cushion
midsummer cushions for Clare on his anniversary from local schoolchildren

His output is put at thousands of poems, large amounts of natural history prose, a brief autobiography, partly written humorous novel and rewriting of verses of the bible.  His writings have been problematical in their ‘deciphering’ and dating put progress has been made in the last few years.  More study will produce more insights and understanding.  No doubt some deeper meanings will be sought from some verse.  In many cases I believe he wrote what he saw, in minute detail, for us all to see. He was not ‘philosophical’ in his writings on nature, perhaps a little, later, in ‘personal’ verse.   He wrote satire too, in scything detail, read The Parish and Don Juan at least for a sharper side to his tongue.  Some say his stature in literature ranks with Shakespeare.  His was a totally different vein to Shakespeare but it is not an idea I have much argument with.

Perhaps I wrote more than I intended but there is so much more to write!  Clare’s poetry should be his memorial.  I usually include lesser known lines where possible and these  later poems, likely from 1860,   are fitting:

The Peasant Poet

He loved the brook’s soft sound,
The swallow swimming by.
He loved the daisy-covered ground,
The cloud-bedappled sky.
To him the dismal storm appeared
The very voice of God;
And when the evening rack was reared
Stood Moses with his rod.
And everything his eyes surveyed,
The insects in the brake,
Were creatures God Almighty made,
He loved them for His sake–
A silent man in life’s affairs,
A thinker from a boy,
A peasant in his daily cares,
A poet in his joy.


To John Clare

Well, honest John, how fare you now at home?
The spring is come, and birds are building nests;
The old cock-robin to the sty is come,
With olive feathers and its ruddy breast;
And the old cock, with wattles and red comb,
Struts with the hens, and seems to like some best,
Then crows, and looks about for little crumbs,
Swept out by little folks an hour ago;
The pigs sleep in the sty; the bookman comes–
The little boy lets home-close nesting go,
And pockets tops and taws, where daisies blow,
To look at the new number just laid down,
With lots of pictures, and good stories too,
And Jack the Giant-killer’s high renown.


I Am

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest- that I loved the best-
Are strange- nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil’d or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below- above the vaulted sky.